‘Fear mustn’t hold us back – evangelise’ warns Catholic Bishop

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The Catholic Bishop, responsible for mission in England and Wales, is this week calling the nation’s Catholics to break through the fear barrier and to stop dragging their feet when it comes to sharing their faith.

The Bishop of Nottingham, Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon, who is Chair of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference for Evangelisation and Catechesis issued his ultimatum to coincide with Home Mission Sunday on September 18th. He said, “We can not afford to drag our feet. To evangelise is our Christian duty and we are all too often backward in coming forward because of fear of offending others or being rejected. As a Catholic community we must break through the fear barrier and give witness to Jesus Christ, now more than ever.”

Home Mission Sunday provides an opportunity for the Catholic Church nationally to pray, reflect and focus on evangelisation work in England and Wales. To mark the day, every parish and religious house has been sent a free resource pack by the national evangelisation agency, CASE. These packs include a variety of prayer materials, a resource booklet, liturgical materials and evangelistic car stickers.

Bishop McMahon added: “Many Catholics need to look long and hard at their attitude to mission. Their reaction to the word evangelisation ranges from outright fear at one end to mild embarrassment at the other end of the spectrum. Some find refuge in the false belief that the Catholic faith is a private matter. It isn’t and never has been. We must break free and return to the example of the apostles. Each and every one of us must actively strive to bring God back into our everyday lives and language. The national evangelisation agency, CASE has been specifically set up to help support, resource and equip the Church for this task. The Agency is doing wonderful work and I encourage you to support and make use of the team and their resources.”

The theme of this year’s dedicated Sunday is “You’re Hired!” and is marked by a CASE launch of a recruitment drive which light heartedly offers all responders a ‘heavenly pension plan’. Mgr Keith Barltrop is Director of CASE and said, “This autumn we’re hoping to fill a large number of job vacancies which offer, quite literally, a heavenly pension plan. No previous experience is necessary and qualifications are most certainly not a pre-requisite. Free training and resources are widely available so as to enable as many people as possible to take up post. What does the job entail? It involves daily and publicly sharing and celebrating your Catholic life and faith where you live, socialise and work.”

CASE is hoping to recruit people from every background and said that there are currently a wide variety of evangelisation opportunities nationally which have yet to be fully taken up. They hope that through the expanding portfolio of training and resources they currently offer, that they can help to dispel people’s individual and group fears regards evangelisation. They also hope to engage a new generation of Catholics to become trained, confident and skilled evangelisers.

Mgr Keith Barltrop added: “There are already a sizeable number of people and groups actively involved in evangelisation in England and Wales. This is good news and we want to support and encourage those people in every way we can. However, for those who are not yet actively involved our message is clear – the bible says ‘Do not be afraid’ three hundred and sixty five times. That covers every day of the year. We encourage you to take these words to heart and to take steps to daily witness to your faith through your words, actions and gestures. CASE is here to help you in this most wonderful of tasks.”

For more information please see: www.caseresources.org and for non-Catholic enquirers please refer them to www.life4seekers.co.uk

Bishop Malcolm McMahon is available for interview. For more information and to arrange an interview please contact Clare Ward.

Tel: 020 8458 3316 Mobile: 0770 939 1998 Email: clare.ward@cbcew.org.uk